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Animal Advocates: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The following items were purchased and/or custom designed to fit shelter space:

1. Materials to build custom-designed window-sill perches as well as wall-mounted perches.
2. Cat trees of various sizes.
3. Scratchy ramps to both provide tactile enrichment as well as to provide access to reach the new window-sill perches.
4. Interactive toys.

Many of our animals came to us when their previous owners were forced to relinquish pets under difficult circumstances. Others come from high[-intake] shelters that are only able to keep animals for a short period of time. These circumstances and transitions can be stressful for animals.

We think it is imperative to the physical and social well-being of cats that they be provided with a variety of enrichment activities and positive interactions with volunteers to develop the animal-human bond and provide stress relief and exercise.

The grant was utilized to help provide an array of furnishings and enrichment activities that meet the needs of our cat population, focusing on their physical and social well-being, including:

1. Custom Designed Window-Sill and Wall-Mounted Perches: A main goal of the project was to design a better use of the bank of windows so the cats can perch for a good view outside and to sit in the sun.
2. Cat Trees: All of the original cat trees in the shelter were used, donated products that were worn and beyond repair. Several new trees of various sizes were purchased as replacements.
3. Scratching-Post Ramps: The ramps were purchased to both provide tactile enrichment as well as to provide access for all cats, regardless of age or physicality, to reach the new window-sill perches.
4. Interactive Toys: The interactive, human-cat enrichment toys were purchased so that our volunteers can help build trusting relationships with the cats and provide adequate exercise.
5. Feline-Human Friendly Bench: The bench was designed to include both comfortable seating for the volunteers and lounging spaces for the cats.
6. In addition to directly benefiting the cats, we feel that the improvements we were able to make also added to the aesthetics of the shelter space, making it a more comfortable environment for our volunteers and visitors.

How many pets did this grant help?

Animal Advocates rescues and re-homes 150 animals per year, many of whom are fostered in our shelter space.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

A local devoted animal lover and cat rescuer found her life and the lives of 15 animals upended after a devastating fire left her home uninhabitable. One of these animals was Orangey, a 3-year-old tabby cat (first photo). With all the familiar surroundings of home gone and his caregiver not present, Orangey came to Animal Advocates stressed and wary of new people. Along with the renovation to the shelter space has also come a “renovation” to Orangey’s demeanor. The new cat perches and larger window-sill perches allow easier access for a cat of Orangey’s size and agility. Orangey is often found relaxed, sun-bathing on a window perch. The new interactive wand toys have provided a tool by which volunteers have worked diligently to gain Orangey’s trust, slowly helping him to learn that he is in a safe, loving environment.

Orangey is still searching for a forever home with loving, patient individuals. We believe the updated furnishings and enrichment toys purchased with the grant have directly impacted Orangey, as well as the other cats, helping him take great strides in sociability and increasing the likelihood of a successful adoption. Meet Orangey here.

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